The union representing 3,500 workers of Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor stores has ratified a new labor agreement that runs through mid-2015. So what happens if the liquor store system is privatized before that?
Naturally, it depends on whom you talk to.
A union leader said the pact requires any private company that takes over all or any portion of the liquor and wine sales to hire displaced state-store employees and adhere to contract provisions regarding salaries, health insurance and pension benefits.
A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett, who supports closing the more than 600 state stores, argued private businesses cannot be forced to honor a contract covering state employees.
Frankly, a private business taking over liquor stores probably would tend to hire the state-store employees because of their experience and know-how in that particular line of work.
But businesses take over other businesses everyday and make changes to work provisions.
Whether that same principal is possible when there is a labor agreement in place may be another matter.
It smells like a court challenge, which should surprise absolutely no one.
Of course, lost in the legal wrangling will be the opportunity the state has to modernize its liquor store system, create a competitive free market, benefit consumers statewide and give an immediate boost to the state's budget from sales of liquor licenses.
In Pennsylvania, progress rarely comes without painstaking political hurdles.